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Bull fight April 28, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was in Spain very recently and I was wondering about the politics of bullfighting recently. In part this is because in 1985 myself and Alastair (once of this parish) spent three months or so in Malaga attempting to produce and sell t-shirts to tourists. This was an interesting experiment but with perhaps a single but far from insignificant flaw, that being that most tourists had already purchased t-shirts before arrival. Anyhow, every evening should the mood strike one bull-fights would be televised. So I saw a fair few bullfights across three months.

I’ve never had any particular urge to see one close up, but I’ve also never underestimated the attraction within Spain for these events – at least for some Spanish people.

Anyhow, this report from the Guardian notes a small but growing anti-bullfighting lobby that may gain political representation in the parliament at the forthcoming election.

The animal rights party Pacma, founded 16 years ago to put an end to bullfighting, could win two seats in the congress of deputies, according to the most recent poll by the country’s Centre for Sociological Studies (CIS).

In truth they’re a marginal force, at this point.

As it happens looking down from an observation point into a bull-ring only a short while back I was struck by the fact two lines of cars and trucks were neatly parked inside.

Meanwhile today is voting day in Spain. PSOE up a fair bit, Podemos not doing so well in the polls. The right using Catalonia as a wedge issue (Ciudadanos rhetoric on the issue particularly telling) and the far-right just waiting in the form of Vox to increase votes. I was in Spain in recent weeks and the election campaign seemed, by contrast with our own, remarkably underpowered with very little postering etc.


1. CL - April 28, 2019

Catalonia has banned bullfighting so that’s another contested issue between Catalan and Spanish nationalists.
Similar to developments elsewhere Spanish politics is fragmenting, making decision making difficult.


Alibaba - April 28, 2019

‘The campaign to ban bullfighting in Catalonia was strongly supported by animal rights groups and gained the backing of celebrities including Ricky Gervais and Pamela Anderson. Opponents of the ban suggested that it was not motivated by animal welfare concerns, but by the desire of Catalan nationalists to eradicate from the region something seen as culturally Spanish. It has also been claimed that the Catalan economy will suffer as a result of the ban. The ban did not cover the Catalan tradition of correbous (roughly meaning bulls running by the streets), including its bou embolat version, in which lit flares are attached to the horns of a bull, cited as an inconsistency by both opponents of the ban and animal rights activists’.


This strikes me as gifting the radical right by banning something it sees as cultural traditions under siege.

Liked by 1 person

2. yourcousin - April 28, 2019

This may come across as muddled so forgive me in advance. I think a lot of time animal rights are confused with proper animal husbandry. Even vegans are relying on industrial agricultural or agri business. With little concern paid to effects of wildlife. If you think fence row farming practices don’t affect wild animals you’re wrong. From an America centric view I’d point out that birds like quail and say sage grouse are far more affected by habitat that people eating them. Having lived through the banning of cock fighting in New Mexico in my youth when I spent in the four corners (SW Colorado) I can tell you that the cultural clash between animal rights activists traditional rural values is huge (as if that was ever argued).

The reality is that rural populations are shrinking as urban populations surge. This require more intensive farming practices as the rural population ages out and continues to shrink. To fill this gap traditional agriculture has given way to agribusiness and factory farms. So you’ll see abandoned homesteads that 20 years ago raised hogs in a “traditional” settings replaced by closed off buildings that now house 1000s hogs in a factory setting. You see the same cattle operations. Obviously “Omnivores Dilemma” covers this in depth and I urge all folks to pick it up and read.

I hate chickens, from having to collect eggs as a child from my great aunts egg farm which ultimately went under as the march of civilization advanced and enclosed “farms” took over.

Animal husbandry and things like grass finished beef should be at the top of our priorities as leftists because our lack of those policies hands a huge swathe of the rural population to the right. This is without even thinking about the reality of having cheap immigrant labor exploited mercilessly to provide farm fresh vegetables to market.

I know I’m going left field from an anti bullfighting post but those conversation needs to be had.

Liked by 2 people

Joe - April 29, 2019

Lovely biographical detail there yc. I’m looking forward to the next chapters. I’m especially interested in getting an insight into the development of your interest and knowledge of Ireland and its history and current issues here. An unusual interest for a SW Colorado boy, no?


yourcousin - April 29, 2019

Like everything else about me it’s really rather boring. I read books in the library, first the likes of Tim Pat Coogan, and then say Gerry Adams as that dominates the Irish section. And I just kept reading. Places like Hungary, the former Yugoslavia were at that point not very accessible unless you wanted to read academic studies about collectivization policies (I did read those too). As time went on the burgeoning blogger scene took off and I was able to follow on there. Slugger, Malcolm, Splintered, Owen Polley, then P.ie, then here etc. Couple that with the breakout of Amazon years ago where you could just order books and they arrived I just kept going. Then obviously too I read the local papers online and got familiar with Suzanne Breen, Alex Kane etc. must give a plug for Sam McBride in the Newsletter btw. Great columnist doing good work.

And while I did all that I worked construction, organized unions, settled down, got married etc. nothing exciting.

As to why this all interests me? Still have no idea all these years later.

As for the SW Colorado angle. Rest assured I’m a born and raised city and county of Denver native. St. Joseph’s hospital. I simply spent sometime in the four corners when cock fighting was banned. And while it seems like a straight forward animal rights argument it also leaves the tapestry of rural life that much poorer. And that is of concern to me.


Joe - April 29, 2019

Thanks yc. The local library is a great thing. And thanks for the bit about Colorado geography – I’m afraid my knowledge of US geography is weak, very weak.
But like, here’s the thing. You go into the library and pick on Tim Pat Coogan (god help us) and all the other Irish stuff. Why that and not say, South America or I don’t know, anywhere else? Was there more on Ireland in the library in Colorado than on other places?
Enough beating around the bush! Your moniker, yourcousin, was your daddy or mammy or gramps or gramma a Paddy or a Bridie?


yourcousin - April 29, 2019

Here’s the thing. I talk to the my boys about shit in Mexico because its a common point of interest, but much like Eastern/Central Europe and Eurasia I think one of the main barriers to entry is language. Also I believe that there is more on entry level writing on Ireland than elsewhere. Like I said if you want to start getting hardcore about say, the IWW organizing long shoremen in Chile in the 1920’s you will need to start pulling out dissertations from a local university if you can scam them into thinking that you are doing a dissertation yourself. Again you can order books form the early 80’s which chronicle the collectivization policies in Cold War Hungary, but again this is academic source material written for other academics. Whatever faults Coogan and Grizzly may have they at least tried to make their writing accessible. This led to other works like “Ten Men Dead” which utilized primary source materials in what was a very good book. Though IIRC I found Belfast Diaries more engaging because it communicated a sense of claustrophobia better IMO.

So unless my Spanish improved to an academic level from a jobsite level (clavos y culeros) then it doesn’t work. Ditto my German and Hungarian. I mean my grandparents basically arrived in America between two world wars in which they were on the wrong side. Then into a cold war in which their former homes were on the wrong side of the lines so to speak. Since they were white they had the luxury to not teach their kids their native tongues and make them American, except for things like cooking and other kitschy crap. And wah lah! just like that we’re Americans no different than the founding fathers. Except for when people shit talk immigrants I think of the Klan harassing my grandmother’s community in Sterling or having ignorant fucks stone my grandmother and calling her a dirty Russian. But that’s just me.

I do think that the lack of a language barrier and the unsettled debate around so many of these issues that still exist for Ireland versus post Trianon Hungary which is basically settled.

And as for the moniker, “yourcousin”. The first blog I ever commented on was indeed written by my cousin. So there you go, like everything else about me, rather mundane when you actually get to the bottom of it.

Finally, but just as importantly my lineage, as if that is that important. I am not now or have I ever been in anyway related to Ireland. No one in my family is Irish in anyway shape or form. As has been called out many times, I’m American. Or as I say ‘MeriCan. I like to save that extra vowel cause you never know when you might need it watching Wheel of Fortune.

As noted on my mother’s side I’m Volga Deustch and Hungarian (and Catholic). On my father’s side they’re mainly yeoman stock, northern Baptists. The strongest connection to the British Isles is Scottish (Cameron Clan) But again, we’ve no real connection to it.I should say though that all of my redneck values and most of my cultural references comes from my paternal side. Chinese imports (pheasants), double guns, and pointers. What more do you need? The one thing you learn about hanging out with immigrants from a certain area of the world is that I’m definitely not. Or as RiD so eloquently stated, “What’s this we shit?”.

Liked by 1 person

Lamentreat - April 29, 2019

Ha! I always thought you were WbS’s actual cousin!

Liked by 1 person

yourcousin - April 29, 2019

More’s the pity if I were. That man is a saint, but having someone such as myself in your family tree would be too much to bear!

Liked by 1 person

Joe - April 29, 2019

I’m smiling reading all that yc. You’re cool. Thanks.
Sad bastard that I am, I was hoping you’d fess up to being the spawn of some teenage irp who fled Belfast in the 70s. Or something like that.
I guess Coogan and Grizzly won the propaganda war. Hands down. Muck them. And muck us (whoever us is) for letting them.


3. CL - April 28, 2019

In the Spanish result Podemos plus the Socialists have 43 per cent. Turnout was a remarkable 75.8 per cent.

“The Socialists won 123 seats while their former coalition partner, Podemos, won 42.
That leaves the two parties 11 seats short of the necessary 176 for a majority….
The centre-left Catalan ERC was the big winner in Catalonia, with a projected 15 seats. Its leader, Oriol Junqueras, is in jail for his role in declaring independence in October 2017.”

Vox was on more than 10%


4. GW - April 29, 2019

I thought the Spanish result was reasonably encouraging, given that much of the media continually allowed Vox to set the agenda, as they generally do with fascist parties.

It goes to show that an anti-fascist campaign like that conducted by the PSOE and Podemos/Unidos can work. Let’s hope they can build a coalition.

The slaughter of the utterly corrupt PP was good to see, and hopefully this will carry over into the Euro-Elections, which will leave a fairly big hole in the EPP.


Paul Culloty - April 29, 2019

That said, apart from being in ALDE, Ciudadanos have become virtually indistinguishable from the PP, and indeed, have become even more focused on centralisation and castellaño than their predecessors.

Liked by 1 person

Pasionario - April 30, 2019

Perhaps there was a bit of “useful voting” for the PSOE, which seems to have picked up support from Podemos. The total left vote remained broadly unchanged, but the PSOE and Podemos have more seats now because the Spanish electoral system gives a seat bump to the largest party.

Politico says VOX didn’t gain many working-class votes, which is some consolation:



5. alanmyler - May 2, 2019

If you’ve never read it the Hemmingway book “Death In The Afternoon” is fascinating on the topic of bull fighting. It’s a good few years since I read it myself so I’m sketchy on details but the impression it left me with was one that probably applied to all sports in the era in which it was written, of ordinary men taking extraordinary risks to make something of their lives, and often ending in tragedy, inflicted by their own failings or by the horns of their opponents. Definitely recommended reading.

Liked by 1 person

6. gypsybhoy69 - May 7, 2019

Was in Andalusia over the Easter and really found it fascinating. We were up in the hills in a place called Antequera. We went to Cordoba, Granada and Seville to od on Moorish architecture.
One thing that struck us was the community involvement in the Easter pageants. We asked the guide and he said although mostly religious a lot of republicans and communists would get involved in them. I was also struck by the amount of statues and info on the Moors and early Islam which I’d imagine are all recent introductions. I think going over I was expecting to see a lot more intolerance and on the ground sightings of Vox but besides from some graffiti here and there, there was nothing.
Although while we were there a town not too far away Coripe had a effigy of Carles Puigdemont pulled through the streets and at parade end people queue up to fire shotguns at the effigy. Turns out this is a PSOE run town and not PP as I had a expected. Seems it’s an annual event similar I suppose to Lewes in England that burns an effigy each November 5th.


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